Agriculture and food security

The overall goal of the domain is increased resilience in food security, in particular of smallholder farmers in SADC region. By increasing production through qualitative seeds, reducing post harvest losses and having better prepared member states to respond to food crisis, the food insecurity in the region should be better tackled. SDC supported interventions aim at changes on the level of policies and institutions as well as on the level of the target population of smallholder farmers. Where appropriate, private sector development partnerships will be sought. The following three outcome areas have been defined for 2013-2016:

  • Improved availability, accessibility and quality of seeds: the expected outcome from interventions supported by RPSA 2013-2016 in this area is the national adoption of a harmonised SADC Seed Systems in selected countries that facilitates regional availability and access to quality seeds for smallholder farmers. This outcome shall contribute to the SADC regional objective of achieving sustainable access to safe and adequate food for all people in the region.
  • Post harvest management: considering the positive experiences acquired in other parts of the world and the priority of those issues given by SADC, SDC will as well engage on post harvest management. The expected outcome here is the reduction of post harvest losses and increase of small holders’ income through informed policy, capacity building and appropriate technology.
  • Disaster Risk Reduction: the expected outcome of interventions supported by RPSA 2013-2016 in this area is that member states and/or farmers use risk reductions instruments, insurance and social protection mechanisms for food security planning and interventions in a coordinated manner. This includes improvement of early warning systems, vulnerability assessment, safety nets and coordination mechanism at regional level. This outcome is aligned to the regional objective of addressing chronic and temporary vulnerability to the diversity of food security risks and economic change as included in the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy.

SDC’ s Food Security Programme in Southern Africa

Objective: Increased resilience in food security in particular of smallholder farmers in SADC region with a focus on the promotion of a harmonized seed system, post harvest management and Disaster Risk Reduction.


  • New Seed Initiative for Maize in Southern Africa - NSIMA: A comprehensive seed value chain with public-private partnerships that is developing and disseminating sufficient quantities of affordable quality seed of improved, adapted and appropriate maize varieties that will contribute to improving the livelihoods and food security of resource-poor small-holder farmers in southern Africa.
    Fact sheet (PDF, 1 Page, 36.6 kB, English)
  • Effective Grain Storage: Implements experimentally the metal silo approach, drawing on SDC's highly successful experiences in Central and South America (>300’000 users, SDC supported 1980-2003), addressing post harvest losses, which may average 20-30% in affected areas.
    Fact sheet (PDF, 1 Page, 42.9 kB, English)
  • Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development in Eastern and Southern Africa – CCARDESA: Coordinate agricultural research and development in the region as well as to provide the necessary linkages and collaboration with other SROs in Africa and globally.
    Fact sheet (PDF, 1 Page, 36.3 kB, English)
  • Strengthening Seed and Input Markets: Rebuild the self-reliance of vulnerable farmers avoiding that they fall in and out of humanitarian assistance. Their resilience is achieved through increasing food sufficiency for vulnerable farmers who chronically rely on relief assistance, while at the same time opening up functioning markets (for both inputs and outputs) in order to increase farmers' production and incomes.
    Fact sheet (PDF, 1 Page, 39.3 kB, English)
  • SADC Seed centre: Generate seed information from accredited national centers in the SADC region and making it available for the other SADC members to authorize their distribution and ease cross border procedures (improved access to quality seed).
    Fact sheet (PDF, 1 Page, 63.4 kB, English)

Farmer working in a maize field in Nicaragua
Farmer working in a maize field in Nicaragua ©SDC

In many developing countries, agriculture plays a highly important role in terms of food security and is often a significant contributor to the national economy. By supporting farmers in the areas of production, marketing and the sustainable use of resources, the SDC is making a substantial contribution to poverty reduction.

The SDC's worldwide engagement